Objectives. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the Sensory Profile discriminates between children with and without autism and which items on the profile best discriminate between these groups.

Method. Parents of 32 children with autism aged 3 to 13 years and of 64 children without autism aged 3 to 10 years completed the Sensory Profile. A descriptive analysis of the data set of children with autism identified the distribution of responses on each item. A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) on each category of the Sensory Profile identified possible differences among subjects without autism, with mild or moderate autism, and with severe autism. Follow-up univariate analyses were conducted for any category that yielded a significant result on the MANCOVA.

Results. Eighty-four of 99 items (85%) on the Sensory Profile differentiated the sensory processing skills of subjects with autism from those of subjects without autism. There were no group differences between subjects with mild or moderate autism and subjects with severe autism.

Conclusion. The Sensory Profile can provide information about the sensory processing skills of children with autism to assist occupational therapists in assessing and planning intervention for these children.

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